2015 Depth Charts Update: San Francisco 49ers
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- Despite losing Mike Iupati, this is still a good offensive line, lead by Joe Staley at left tackle. Who replaces Iupati will still be important but from center Daniel Kilgore to right tackle Anthony Davis the line is solid enough, with all three grading positively as run blockers. The battle at left guard looks to be between Joe Looney, who really struggled in pass protection on limited work last year, and second-year player Brandon Thomas, who missed his rookie year through injury.
- At wide receiver, gone are Michael Crabtree and Steve Johnson, and in comes deep threat Torrey Smith and rookie DeAndre Smelter. Smelter’s impact as a rookie will likely be limited due to an injury sustained in college, but Smith is an intriguing option, who could really allow the 49ers to make the most of Colin Kaepernick’s arm strength. The signal-caller has struggled in recent years, but Smith made a name for himself in Baltimore, making plays downfield despite having suspect hands at times. An underrated aspect of his game is his ability to draw defensive holding and pass interference penalties, too.
- The big news for the 49ers at linebacker this offseason was the retirement of not just Patrick Willis, but Chris Borland as well. That saw them drop from having three of the best inside linebackers in football to just one. It leaves Michael Wilhoite as a starter again, after an up-and-down season in 2014. An undrafted free agent back in 2011, he graded negatively against the run, but positively in coverage.
- Chris Culliver’s departure hurts the defense, and it leaves Chris Cook and Shareece Wright battling for a starting spot opposite Tramaine Brock. Cook played just 48 snaps last year, but looked solid when he was on the field. His problem has been inconsistency, but that’s still better than Wright, who has struggled so much that he was our fourth lowest graded cornerback in 2014, and our seventh lowest graded in 2013.